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How Do I Love Thee? by Nancy Moser
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How Do I Love Thee?

by Nancy Moser

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I wonder how much of Elizabeth's illness is physical and how much is emotional and mental? I wonder if her father unconsciously encouraged her to be an invalid. An invalid daughter would never leave. I found myself getting frustrated with her unwillingness to get out and meet people. I realize if she really was agoraphobic she could not help it, but it was frustrating.

The opium and attitudes of Victorian Doctors regarding female nerves certainly didn't help. ( )
  nx74defiant | Nov 27, 2016 |
Couldn't, wouldn't, finish this one. Was E.B. Browning really such a pathetic, hysterical Victorian woman? I was so sick of her unquestioning obedience to her father, portrayed as profoundly controlling and unforgiving, that I gave up halfway through the book. I know that ultimately she broke free, and I am interested in the real woman, but this character, with her illnesses and possible agoraphobia, was just unbearable. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Feb 11, 2016 |
I loved Nancy Moser's writing. The authoress English creates for us a fascinating and clear picture of change in a life lived in fear and self gratification. Yet, I got to love Elizabeth and not to pity her thanks to Mrs. Moser's kind and wise treatment of the heroine's emotional and character growth.

Mrs. Moser masterfully paints a delicate picture of the work of Love in humanity. Through Love, Elizabeth Barrett Browning is able to produce works that bless humanity in two continents in the 1800's, and today still reach us throughout the world.

The author, with an uncanny understanding of the human heart, shows the progression of Elizabeth's life from a mind stuck on agoraphobia, hysteria, opium addiction, and it's product, a debilitated constitution, to healing and the production of her best known work "Sonnets of the Portuguese." (This title was product of the love of her husband Robert, who lovingly called her the Portuguese.)

As the book progresses another love comes in; a love possible only through the first Love. Being loved by Robert Browning and loving him in return, gave Elizabeth Barrett Browning a motivation for living and it strengthened her to give up agoraphobia, hysteria, and addiction (these mental illness categories are never used in the book, but the reader identifies them through the story without losing its estimation of the heroine.)

One of the most fascinating things in this book for me was Nancy Moser's careful and brilliant unraveling of the heroine's discovery of the difference between love and coercion, between freedom in Christ (possible as Robert's wife) versus slavery to religiosity and autocracy (what she had and will continue to have with her dad). This is written masterfully.

It takes an inspired mind to be able to present to us a person's growth with so much delicacy and wisdom. Facts in a bibliography are not able to help us see the intricacies of the life of human beings. Yes, reality may not be your fashion, but the reality present in Elizabeth Barrett's life is a beautiful romance with Robert Browning in the midst of a greater Love.

This novel shows clearly that Mrs. Moser has done research, not only of known facts from the Brownings' life, from biographers and others, but also from details found in the couple's copious correspondence (600+ letters). In the Epilogue of the book, the author expands on the details of a marriage that caught the imagination of couples the world over for 2 centuries now. Before reading this book I had not even read any of the Brownings' work, now I have begun to read their work, and I treasure it.

The reality of redemption is ever present in this book as it analyzes the heart and mind of the creative genius of Elizabeth Barrett Browning who was loved as a woman was designed to be, by a godly and courageous man. Yes, loved by a man who was godly and courageous to love and give because he relied on a greater Love than his to feed and funnel his whole being. ( )
  DebbiePearl | Jul 24, 2011 |
This fictionalized account of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's love affair with Robert Browning is fairly close to fact, and does a decent job of trying to get into the head of a woman who was probably agoraphobic, certainly a shut-in and a laudanum addict. It focuses primarily on building the woman as a character and showing how she might have entered into what was in some ways a rather surprising alliance. Although at first I found the writing a bit thin and dangerously close to genre romance, in the end I thought it worth the read, although I recommend a serious biography be taken as a chaser. ( )
  kambrogi | Jan 13, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have read several of Nancy Moser’s books in the past, and I have really enjoyed them all, so I was very excited when I received this book. I have started this book and abandoned it so many times I lost count, but I was determined to make it to the end. I didn’t. “Ba” was just too whiny for me. I kept reading hoping to make a connection with her, but in the end I am giving up on this one. ( )
  sorsopkel | Aug 29, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764205013, Paperback)

The year is 1845. Elizabeth Barrett is a published poet--and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. She has resigned herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives... "I love your verses with all my heart," writes Robert Browning, an admiring fellow poet. And as friendly correspondence gives way to something more, Elizabeth discovers that Robert's love is not for her words alone. Could it be that God might grant her more than mere existence? And can she risk defying her father in pursuit of true happiness? Nancy Moser has crafted a romantic, emotion-charged novel based on the true story of beloved poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:40 -0400)

The year is 1845. Elizabeth Barrett is a published poet - and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. She has resigned herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives...'I love your verses with all my heart, writes Robert Browning, an admiring fellow poet. And as friendly correspondence gives way to something more, Elizabeth discovers that Robert's love is not for her words alone.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Bethany House

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